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A Budget Deal That Ends The Shutdown Threat Until 2015...


Leon Troutsky
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Finally, it looks like we're going to see an end to the insane threats to shut down the government. Now to extend the debt ceiling and get some stability and normalcy back to our system of government.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/house-senate-negotiators-reach-budget-deal/2013/12/10/e7ee1aaa-61eb-11e3-94ad-004fefa61ee6_story.html?hpid=z1

By Lori Montgomery, Published: December 10 E-mail the writer

House and Senate negotiators unveiled an $85 billion agreement late Tuesday to fund federal agencies through the fall of 2015, averting another government shutdown and ending the cycle of crisis that has paralyzed Washington for much of the past three years.

In a rare display of bipartisan cooperation, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stood side by side in the Capitol with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to announce the deal, which would cancel half of the sharp spending cuts known as the sequester for the current fiscal year.

“I am very proud to stand here today with Chairman Ryan to say that we have broken through the partisanship and gridlock and reached a bipartisan budget compromise,” Murray said, calling the agreement “an important step in helping to heal some of the wounds here in Congress and show we can do something without another crisis around the corner.”

Ryan called the agreement “a step in the right direction” that protects the Pentagon from fresh cuts set to hit in January while trimming deficits by more than $20 billion over the next decade.

With the deal already under fire from conservatives for weakening the sequester, Ryan argued that the package represents “a clear improvement on the status quo” by replacing one-time cuts to agency budgets with permanent savings from other programs.

In a “divided government” where Democrats control the White House and the Senate, Ryan reminded his critics, “you don’t always get what you want.”

The deal would not deliver a key demand of many Democrats, to extend unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless. While they pledged to keep fighting, senior Democrats acknowledged that checks are likely to be cut off at the end of the month for more than a million people, potentially undercutting the strengthening economic recovery.

But the agreement could provide an offsetting boost to the economy by returning a degree of normalcy to the Washington budget process and restoring confidence in the ability of Republicans and Democrats to work together after years of destabilizing strife.

“This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like — and I know many Republicans feel the same way. That’s the nature of compromise,” President Obama said in a statement. “But it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven ­decision-making to get this done.”

The deal was struck after weeks of private talks between Murray and Ryan, a political odd couple better known for advancing their parties’ agendas than for forging compromise. It represents an accomplishment and a risk for Ryan, who ran on the GOP presidential ticket in 2012 and still has White House aspirations.

Under the terms of the deal, spending for the Pentagon and other federal agencies would be set at $1.012 trillion for fiscal 2014, midway between the $1.058 trillion sought by Democrats and the $967 billion championed by Republicans. The Pentagon would get a $2 billion increase over last year, while domestic agencies would get a $22 billion bump, clearing space for administration priorities such as fresh investments in education and infrastructure.

For fiscal 2015, spending would increase only slightly, to $1.014 trillion, for a total of $63 billion in sequester replacement.

That cost would be covered through a mix of policies to be implemented over the next decade. They include $12.6 billion in higher security fees for airline passengers, $8 billion in higher premiums for federal insurance for private pensions, $6 billion in reduced payments to student-loan debt collectors and $3 billion saved by not completely refilling the nation’s strategic petroleum reserves.

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Another large chunk of savings — $12 billion over the next decade — would come from reduced contributions to federal pensions, split evenly between military retirees and new civilian workers who start after Dec. 31.

For those in the military, the reduction would take the form of lower cost-of-living increases for retirees between the ages of 40 and 62, many of whom take other jobs while collecting their military pensions. New civilian workers, meanwhile, would be required to contribute an additional 1.3 percent to their retirements.

Current federal workers would not be affected, said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the lead budget negotiator for House Democrats. The impact on pensions, one of the last major issues to be decided, was hammered out during a weekend of talks between Van Hollen and Murray, who persuaded Ryan to spread the pain to the youngest military retirees.

“The agreement’s not perfect, but it’s better than none at all,” Van Hollen said, adding that it “replaces part of the job-killing sequester without disproportionately hitting middle-class families, including hundreds of thousands of hard-working public servants.”

On top of sequester replacement, the deal calls for an additional $22 billion in deficit reduction by extending a small part of the sequester into 2022 and 2023. That shift would primarily affect Medicare providers, who would face an additional two years of 2 percent across-the-board cuts.

Ryan and Murray were rushing to file legislation by midnight Tuesday to clear the way for a House vote as soon as Thursday, one day before the chamber is set to adjourn for the year. The Senate would vote before leaving town next week.

Ryan and Murray expressed confidence that the package would win favor in their parties, though Democratic reaction was clearly more positive. Conservatives on and off Capitol Hill attacked the deal, with some outside groups such as the influential Heritage Action for America announcing their opposition a full day in advance.

On Tuesday, Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by the conservative Koch brothers, sent a letter to members of Congress calling the deal “a dangerous retreat from the pledge to ‘live within our means’ ” made when the sequester was adopted in the summer of 2011.

But as House leaders prepared to brief their rank and file in a closed-door meeting early Wednesday, GOP aides dismissed the outcry, noting that many of the most vociferous critics of the package also opposed the legislation that created the sequester.

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So the constant threat of government shutdown and defaulting on the debt is what's good for the country? blink.png That's insane.

the government's idea of stability and normalcy is exactly why we are where we are.

getting back to that state is simply putting off the current problems for the time being. they will be back with interest (and I am not just talking about money)

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the government's idea of stability and normalcy is exactly why we are where we are.

getting back to that state is simply putting off the current problems for the time being. they will be back with interest (and I am not just talking about money)

The deal will lower the deficit if the current trends continue next year and the year after. That's a good thing. And again, the notion of having a constant threat of all national parks shutting down along with the rest of the government or the US defaulting on our debt is insane. Those threats of default caused our credit rating to be downgraded, which means borrowing now costs MORE than it did. The government shutdown cost MORE than it would had it stayed open, not to mention the extra revenue for businesses that serve park visitors. The last two years of perpetual manufactured crises was fiscally and economically irresponsible.

More making fun of people who blame Obama for everything by mimicking the opposite and giving him credit for everything.

Ah. I get it now.

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The deal will lower the deficit if the current trends continue next year and the year after. That's a good thing. And again, the notion of having a constant threat of all national parks shutting down along with the rest of the government or the US defaulting on our debt is insane. Those threats of default caused our credit rating to be downgraded, which means borrowing now costs MORE than it did. The government shutdown cost MORE than it would had it stayed open, not to mention the extra revenue for businesses that serve park visitors. The last two years of perpetual manufactured crises was fiscally and economically irresponsible.

so it's just the last two years that were irresponsible. gotcha

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It's amazing how happy and even giddy the liberals get over raising debt limits when a Democrat is in the White House, but how stringently they oppose that same action when a Republican holds the office.

Some may say that's hypocritical and others may say it's not.

Because Republicans haven't switched sides on that position. Not. at. all.

Someday I hope that you finally realize that a thing is not good or bad because the other party proposes it. There are responsible and irresponsible actions regardless of which side is doing them. Threatening to default on the debt is irresponsible. Period.

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so it's just the last two years that were irresponsible. gotcha

The perpetual state of fabricated crises over the past two years have been irresponsible. There has been irresponsible actions before that, but they were of a different kind. My point here is that it looks like the constant threat of a shutdown is going away for a few years. That's a good thing.

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rolleyes.gif Because one year's budget can fix thirty years of national problems. Ridiculous.

no because you seem to only be capable of focusing on the microcosm of events so that you can pick and choose your victories and cheer your side. you seem incapable of looking at the big picture, the way both sides have contributed to the issues we have now and the chit storm that is coming in the future as a result of the 'stability and normalcy' you crave

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It passed the house.

By quite a big margin, too. I'm happy to see some sanity return to the GOP. Maybe we can finally get around to addressing some of our major national problems.

Great story here...see the bolded part:

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) assailed conservative groups Thursday for opposing the latest budget deal, saying they had crossed a line and lost their credibility.

"This budget agreement takes giant steps in the right direction," Boehner said at a press conference. "But when groups come out and criticize something they've never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are."

Boehner has been reticent in the past to criticize conservative outside groups, such as Heritage Action and Club for Growth. Some of the groups have had a considerable influence on the tea party faction among House Republicans, and were the rallying force behind the effort to either defund Obamacare or shut down the federal government.

For the first time, Boehner acknowledged that these groups pushed Republicans into an unsuccessful strategy that he didn't favor. He expressed particular outrage that one of the groups later said it knew the shutdown strategy wasn't going to work.

"Are you kidding me?" Boehner shouted.

"Frankly I think they're misleading their followers. I think they're pushing our members in places they don't want to be," he added. "And frankly I just think they've lost all credibility."

Boehner showed his first signs of true frustration Wednesday, when he slammed the groups for coming out against the budget deal before they had seen it and accused them of "using" his members. Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity stated their opposition to the Murray-Ryan budget deal before it was even announced, while Club for Growth urged members to vote against it moments after the deal was made public.

"Yesterday when the criticism was coming, frankly I thought it was my job and my obligation to stand up for conservatives here in the Congress who want more deficit reduction, stand up for the work that Chairman Ryan did," Boehner said.

The deal brokered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) offers modest relief to the federal budget cuts known as sequestration, by raising spending levels slightly from $967 billion to $1.014 trillion over the next two years. The framework produces savings and non-tax revenue totaling $85 billion, $20 billion to $23 billion of which would be devoted to deficit reduction.

Asked if he was officially saying "no" to the tea party, Boehner emphasized the deficit reduction achieved under the budget deal and said there was no reason to oppose it.

"I came here to cut the size of government," he said. "That's exactly what this bill does, and why conservatives wouldn't vote for this or criticize the bill is beyond any recognition I could come up with."

Boehner also defended his own commitment to conservative principles, which has repeatedly come under fire. This criticism has at times threatened his speakership when he has attempted to negotiate with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.

"I say what I mean and I mean what I say," he said. "I'm as conservative as anybody around this place."

Despite the notable shift in his tone, Boehner denied that he was turning a new leaf in his approach toward the tea party.

"I don't really think that I've said anything new or anything different than what I've felt and what I've said in the past," he said. "It just comes to a point when some people step over the line."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) praised Boehner for standing up to conservative groups attacking the budget deal.

"I think it was a breath of fresh air as far as I'm concerned," Reid said at a press conference later Thursday.

"Why are they doing this?" Reid said of the outside groups. "What is this supposed to accomplish? It is showing the American people why the [senate] rules had to be changed."

This story has been updated to include comment from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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That means it was the wrong thing to do. Democrats will be criticizing this deal by next spring. Even the ones who voted for it. They will figure out some way to explain away their vote that the hacks will accept.

"Doing the sane and responsible action is the wrong thing to do."

That's why Republicans had to tell the Tea Party to STFU and sit in the corner until they learn how to act like adults.

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And just like that Paul Ryan has gone from conservative budget genius to RINO. Pretty soon they're going to run out of people to call RINO.

When you get the mob riled up and hand them torches and pitchforks, don't be surprised when it's your home they want to burn down next. As I said, they mainstreamed the crazies and now they're dealing with the mess that they created. I hope they learned a lesson.

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